Chow Town

Celebrate raw-milk cheeses this Saturday on Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day

Montgomery’s Cheddar, a raw-milk traditional English Farmhouse Cheddar
Montgomery’s Cheddar, a raw-milk traditional English Farmhouse Cheddar Special to The Star

In September of last year, my Chow Town blog post about the FDA’s scrutiny of raw-milk cheese proved to have legs and ended up being reposted on Food Safety News.

This opinion piece struck a nerve with some. Several people commented on the post, and for that I am grateful, though some of the comments were less then positive. One of the comments took a wrong turn and began to equate raw-milk cheese advocates with those who don’t vaccinate their children.

You can understand how this issue gives people a chance to flex their righteous muscles of indignation. But it also underscores why we need more education about traditional raw-milk cheese. It seems every couple of months I have someone come into the store who is worried about raw-milk cheese. I even had a gentleman walk out in a huff because we sell raw-milk cheese.

This lack of education and the increased scrutiny by the FDA due to the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011 bring the need for a day where raw-milk cheeses are celebrated and eaten all across the globe. We should call it Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day.

Well as it turns out that day is Saturday, April 18. So show your support for the farmers, cheesemakers and retailers who bring these amazing traditional cheeses to you.

Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day will be celebrated in the U.S. and anywhere traditional cheese is made with unpasteurized milk. Many don’t know that a lot of the traditional European cheeses we eat on a regular basis are made with raw milk. That includes cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Gruyere and Roquefort.

Even many of our local standout cheeses are made with raw milk, Flory’s Truckle and Cottonwood River Cheddar being some of the most popular. The quality and safety records of these domestic and imported cheeses stand out as good examples of why we don’t want to lose this traditional way of making cheese.

If you are intrigued, you may ask, “Lincoln, what are some of your favorite raw-milk cheeses?”

Funny you should ask!

I really like French Comté with or on just about anything. Try this hard mountain cow’s milk cheese on sandwiches, soup or even baked into pie crust. For a great little bite, take Comté aged for at least a year and dip chunks into real maple syrup. Or for something even more different, try Sciroppo di Noci Verdi drizzled on the cheese. This Italian syrup made with sugar, green walnuts and vanilla also pairs beautifully with the Comté.

If you want to stay local, do Flory’s Truckle on your next grilled burger. Trust me, it’s worth it. The small herd of Jersey cows that supply the milk for this traditional cheddar make it rich and savory. Thank you Jamesport, Mo.

In anticipation of this important day I will have some great raw-milk cheeses to sample on National Cheeseball Day from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday at the Kansas City Culinary Center in downtown Overland Park. This a free cheese and wine-tasting in conjunction with Local Life — Third Fridays.

Then at both the Better Cheddar locations we will feature several raw-milk cheeses for Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day Saturday. Come see us for a taste!

Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society-certified cheese professional. He is the manager and buyer for the Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbooks and on Instagram @lincycheese.